Thursday, September 18, 2014

Native Plants for Northern Virginia Resource and Publication

The Plant NoVa Natives campaign recently released the publication, Guide to Native Plants for Northern Virginia. Why plant natives? Flora that are indigenous to a region evolved to accommodate and benefit from the wildlife that is also indigenous to that region. Native plants grow easily in the soil they've inhabited for centuries, if not millennia. This means fewer pesticides and less need for supplemental water and fertilizer.

Development endangers native species, which often come to be categorized as weeds. Native clover is a prime example of a beneficial plant that got a bad rap when homeowners longed for ever-green grass. Lawn herbicides knock out native clover, along with crabgrass and other noxious weeds. However, white and purple clover are essential nectar and pollen sources for bees.

The plight of the Monarch butterfly is well-known by now: development caused near elimination of the milkweed, the Monarch's only host plant. Recognition of the value of native plants, and their intrinsic beauty, is slowly restoring the acceptance and encouragement homeowners and gardeners need to grow long overlooked "wild" flowers. Hopefully this beautiful publication, which is available online and filled with gorgeous photos and resources, will encourage local gardeners to go a little wild in our own backyards.

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